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Sacred Heart Primary School

Girvan, UK

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project overview

Reflecting the lifelong nature of education and learning

Bringing 21st century teaching and learning space back to Girvan, the new Sacred Heart Primary School promotes a culture of lifelong learning and sense of pride for the local community.

The new 125-place school, a direct replacement for the now demolished Victorian building, is designed to the Scottish Government’s ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ criteria. It promotes the knowledge, skills and attributes that enable pupils to develop in confidence and independence.

The school is adaptable to future needs, prioritising sustainable design, construction and in-use practices optimising energy performance and connectivity.

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design development

Greater connectivity around the school building

The two storey school creates visual interest with a single storey portion to the main frontage, where the central heart space lies. Leading off to teaching space, a secure playground and double height gym hall, reflecting its visibility in the community.

The single storey element mimics the nearby homes, set back from the road to align with neighbouring properties and to maintain the street frontage which was present with the pre-existing school building.

The material palette consists of two main materials; brick and glass, blending seamlessly with the surrounding properties. As well as carefully considering the nearby Sacred Heart Church and the Carrick Opportunities Centre.

The light coloured brick facade is complemented by contrasting glazing framed in dark aluminium. Curtain walling in the dining area and open learning spaces maximise views, creating a connection with the outdoors.

The design presented an opportunity to create a space which allows people to move easily around the space. The classrooms are stacked above one another from the ground to first floor, accessible through the central hub, ensuring ease of access between teaching areas.

The design was also an opportunity to bring community facilities back to the area, with the double height hall is located to the front of the building. Pupil safety is paramount, with accessibility via a separate community room and the ability to lock down the teaching areas out of school hours.

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Landscape design

Fostering greater connections between people and nature

The school was keen to maximise their playground area given the relatively restrictive size of the site, creating an efficient, safe and simple layout. Useable zones encourage socialising and informal and active play, where pupils have full access to a range of different activity areas including growing and wildlife areas.

This includes a designated ball area for informal kickabout, improving on a similar space that the school already uses. As well as a public access zone to lead people through the site and to reception, with a service zone positioned to avoid disturbance to the school. The 20 space covered cycle shelter can also be accessed via this route before being locked down for the day for security.

Stakeholder engagement

Community led approach for a school at its heart

We collaborated with the pupils, staff and wider community to develop a sense of identity through the design, better understanding the needs of different stakeholders and what they wanted from the new school design.

Through a range of presentations and illustrative materials, we took the stakeholders through the whole process from our vision, concepts, development and the final design. Extensive feedback was received through the consultation process from members of the public. This feedback was collected and supporting our design process.

Key information

Project summary


Girvan, KA26 9AW


Morrison Construction






125 pupil spaces
Interactive learning areas
Multi-use dining
Gym hall


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